Billy Connolly’s shock new health battle
COMEDIAN Sir Billy Connolly is suffering from the dementia associated with Parkinson's disease.
The Scottish comic's close friend Michael Parkinson made the sad admission during an appearance on the British lifestyle show Saturday Morning with James Martin
According to The Sun, Connolly "no longer recognises close friends" as he continues to battle Parkinson's disease.
The Scottish comic went public with his diagnosis five years ago, but now one of his oldest friends, Sir Michael Parkinson, has admitted it's starting to take its toll.
Speaking on Saturday with James Martin, the legendary chat show host recalled a recent meeting with the 75-year-old, and how they had an "awkward dinner".
He said: "The sadness of Billy now is that wonderful brain is dulled.
"I saw him recently - he's now living in America - and it was very sad, because I was presenting him with a prize at an awards ceremony.
"We had an awkward dinner together because I wasn't quite sure if he knew who I was or not.
"But we were walking out after the presentation to go down and have our picture taken, and he turned to me and put his hand on my shoulders."
Connolly was diagnosed with the long term degenerative disorder after having surgery for prostate cancer, and went public with the news in 2013.
The disease affects the brain and symptoms include involuntary shaking, stiff muscles and slow movement as well as memory problems and balance issues.
Sir Michael Parkinson, 83, grew close to Connolly after multiple appearances on his chat show.
He added: "To know someone as long as I knew and loved Billy … it was an awful thing to contemplate, that that had been taken from him in a sense.
"He was just a genius and the best thing that happened to me on the show."
Last year, Connolly was knighted for his services to entertainment as well as his charity work, which in recent years has involved raising awareness for Parkinson's disease.
At the time he said: "When I'm in front of people and performing, I don't give it much attention.
"And I perform despite it. That's why I put on the song A Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On - just to stick two fingers up to it.
"There's a whole lot of shaking going on. It's kind of weird, this instability," he said.
"The only time it stops is when I'm in bed and then I can't roll over. I'm like a big log.
"It's the first thing I think about in the morning because getting out of bed is quite hard."
Connolly, 75, has previously talked about the diagnosis, telling a British documentary: "The doctor said to me, 'You realise this isn't curable?' and I thought 'What a rotten thing to say to somebody.'
"I always thought he should have said, 'You realise we are yet to find a cure?' to put a little light at the end of the tunnel. There's a lot to be said for that."